I grew up in a household in Angeles City that places a high premium on what we eat: ingredients, cooking techniques, slow food, palatial delights. Nothing is served below these requirements.
Taking my taste buds away from home, I started a journey that has exposed me to other things like new ingredients, techniques and tastes. But there’s none as exciting as trekking back home and indulging in comfortable flavors that has reared me to who I am today.
Abe’s Farm gave me that flashback Friday! Back to my roots, back to that little girl who loved climbing guava trees and munching on its fruits and being reprimanded because Ima (my maternal grandma) will use those same fruits that will ripen for “bulanglang” or the Capampangan version of Sinigang sa Bayabas, a favorite dish that I can eat everyday.
Abe’s Farm offers that peek into history with it’s ancestral interiors and spacious grounds… And the best part — they serve the genuine deal in Capampangan flavors. Two of my highly recommended dishes are the Pako Salad and Adobong Pusit.
Paco or fern (young fern) is the “bida” of this salad! Used fresh, the young fern tops are washed well and often soaked in salted water before combining with fresh tomatoes, red onions and topped with red egg. The dressing is a gastronomic favorite for me: calamansi, suka (paombong goes well with this recipe) and patis! (Currently salivating…) I don’t want to say a “gasgas” word but since my mind went blank together with my tongue… REFRESHING!
Inday Fely, our former neighbor in Cebu who was the Yaya of one of Bacolod’s princesses, taught me well on how to cook this unassuming yet power packed with flavors dish… Salamat kaayo, ‘Day!
But instead of adding a dash of muscovado like the Bacolenos, this one is Pampanga-based and has more of the sour taste from vinegar. Mind you! The baby squids fresh and the “plasticky” spines removed (just like ‘Day Fely has taught me)… So soft, so fresh and so delicious!